Reasons for extended length of stay following chest tube removal in general thoracic surgical patients

Academic Article


  • Background: Many patients undergoing general thoracic surgery can be discharged on the same day as chest tube removal, but some are not, leading to increased resource utilization. This study assesses the frequency and duration of extended length of stay (ELOS) after tube removal and identifies risk factors for ELOS. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all adult patients undergoing general thoracic surgery at a tertiary referral medical center captured in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons General Thoracic Surgery Database and obtained detailed clinical data on chest tube management from August 2013 to April 2017. Pre-operative demographics, procedures, diagnoses, comorbidities, hospital service category, and lab values were examined to identify risk factors associated with ELOS after chest tube removal using multivariable generalized linear regression models. Results: One thousand and four hundred seventy patients had ≥1 chest tubes placed at the time of operation and discharged after chest tube removal: anatomic lung resection (34%), wedge resection (29%), decortication (16%), and other (21%). Fifty-one percent of these patients were male, 81% were white, and the mean age was 59 years (SD: 15 years). One-third of the patients had prior cardiothoracic operations. Twenty-three percent of these patients had ELOS, defined as discharge ≥1 calendar day after chest tube removal with a median additional hospital stay of 3 days (interquartile range, 2-7 days). A multivariable regression model demonstrated that risk factors for ELOS included being admitted to an oncology or transplant service, undergoing decortication procedure, active smoking, and increased disability. Conclusions: Patients with obesity, more severe disability, or actively smoking, undergoing, decortication, admitted to transplant and oncology services were more likely to experience ELOS. These factors should be considered when identifying appropriate patient groups for fast-track algorithms.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Asban A; Xie R; Abraham P; Kirklin JK; Donahue J; Wei B
  • Start Page

  • 5700
  • End Page

  • 5708
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 10